As I had previously mentioned  we had finally settled on a buyer for the Red 1970 2000 GT Skyline we had here at the shop.  The customer flew out a few weeks prior to check the car out and discuss a few repairs he would like to have done before the car was to be picked up a few weeks later.

We’re actually trying out a new method of offering these cars to customers here at JDML.  Previously we would repair whatever we felt was necessary beforehand and sell them in a finished form, now we have decided it would be more advantageous for the customer to have a bit more input on exactly what repairs or restoration they would like done before receiving the car.  That way, the customer can decide what areas are most important to them and they can have a more custom-tailored restoration and even have the option to take on the repairs themselves if they desire.

This car was already an amazing starting point but there were a few areas that the new owner (Eric) wanted taken care of before receiving the car.  First up was a bit of rust repair underneath that required removal of the rear subframe in order to be fixed properly….

The rear spoiler also had some peeling in the clear coat as well as the typical waviness found in most FRP parts if they aren’t blocked properly before paint.

There were also a few spots of corrosion inside both door jambs as well that needed some attention.

Which was also the perfect opportunity for us to test out our new media blaster and make sure all traces of rust are completely removed.

Here they are after a bit of patchwork…

We’ve also been chasing a minor fuel leak on the AN fittings that supply the fuel pump from the tank.  Sometimes these fittings can be a real pain, this was our third attempt and this time we removed all of the fuel from the tank,  sanded every sealing surface of each fitting and re-fitted them with some Russell’s  anti-seize thread sealant for good measure.

And it looks like the third time was the charm, no leaks!  You can also see the new spare tire we had mounted up for Eric….   by the way, did I mention he would be taking a one-way flight here and drive the car back 700 miles to L.A.?

Yep, not usually what I recommend for any 40+ year old car but we have faith in what we sell and Eric know the trials and tribulations of nostalgic motoring as much as anyone.  Actually, when we first started the conversation about sourcing a Hakosuka  for him many months ago he sent us a couple of pictures that showed just what type of customer we were dealing with.

This is his killer S30 getting a little track time at Buttonwillow Raceway in Southern California, and even better, he can turn a wrench as well.  My type of guy.

We also whipped out a completely custom tailored, era-correct, loop style carpet  a few nights before his arrival.  You see, we’ve been through a few upholstery shops here and we’ve come to the realization that in order to get everything with the exact fit and finish we were looking for that we were just going to have to do it ourselves.   This car also has a roll cage, custom seat brackets and dead pedal which meant an off the shelf kit just wouldn’t work.  So Ryan took the time to measure and cut every piece for a perfect fit and here’s the only picture we have of it taken on his iPhone around 12:00 A.M. on the floor of his girlfriend’s house who just so happens to be a master seamstress in the fashion industry…    today she gets carpet 🙂

And the only shot of it taken before the car was picked up (did I mention it was crunch time?)  Maybe I’ll have to hit Eric up for a couple more.

And here we are, it’s Saturday just a couple hours before the car is to be picked up on a beautiful spring morning in Salt Lake.  One last time to give it a wash down and say my farewells before it makes the long trek towards it’s new home.  It’s kind of taken on sort of a ritual for me before a car leaves,  there’s a certain connection made hand washing  a car that non-car people just won’t understand.

The rear spoiler turned out great,  smooth an flat, like it should be.

The door jambs turned out nice as well.

Fluids clean and topped off…  I think I’ll miss the sound of that motor firing up most of all.

And into the shop for some last minute detailing and one last picture.

There was another reason that made this such a special day,  Eric had recently made friends by way of the JNC forums with another stateside Hakosuka owner that was taking a little road trip of his own through the world famous Bonneville Salt Flats with a few friends and is conveniently located only a few hours away from us here in SLC.   After some conversation they had decided to make a trip down to the airport to pick up Eric and his co-pilot on the trip, Jan and then meet us all here at JDM Legends.

Soon enough Ryan and I were greeted by the unmistakable L-series rumble and before we knew it our lot was full of J-tin and the type of people (my people) that were just as excited to check out Eric’s new pride and joy as he was…

This is the beauty that Eric and Jan were lucky enough to get picked up from the airport in, and as Eric put it, “What better way to pick up your new Skyline than in a Skyline!”

This is Ivan’s immaculate Kenmeri, he is actually the same person that we sold our very first Hakosuka to almost 4 years ago so it was great to be able to meet up with him again at our new location.  He also brought us a copy of the Nostalgic Hero  magazine that he was lucky enough to be featured in.

It’s pretty crazy to see one of our cars in a JDM magazine 🙂

He also came with Luke and his olive-green, restoration in progress (just like my Starlet LOL)  S30.  We’re not afraid to roll primer-style for a little while, at least you can still enjoy it right?

And Paul with a super clean 86.  I was super jealous of his factory installed Toyota tape deck,  don’t ever get rid of it!   Just one look under these cars and you could  see they had been having some fun on the salt, just make sure to get that stuff off asap 😉

Eric’s friend, co-pilot, and all around rad dude Jan Trondsen was wearing the coolest jacket I’ve ever laid eyes on, apparently it’s a legit, team-issued BRE jacket signed by the man himself, Peter Brock.  And to top it all off he picked it up at thrift store in Southern California of all places!  Some guys have all the luck.

All of that is great fun but THIS is the reason I was here.   Eric’s initial reaction was priceless…   when you are getting hugs from customers you know you’re in the right business 🙂   This is when all of the stress and sleepless nights become worth it.

After a little time discussing some of the work we did and as well as a few of the nuances that most old cars have it was time to wrap it up because Eric and Jan had quite a trip ahead of them and they had planned to do it all in one day.

I wish I could have spent more time with everyone because it’s not everyday I get these types of people and cars coming through our shop in a relatively smallish town, but the clock was ticking and Eric was itching to get acquainted with his new pride and joy so it was time for a quick group shot before they hit the interstate.

And with that, they were off…   I must say I got a little choked up watching that car drive away, but this is part of the business and I know for a fact that this car is going to a good home and that it will be cherished, and driven exactly as it was meant to be for many more years to come.

Eric was kind enough to send me these next few pictures Jan had taken from the road and this was the view out the back window, temp tags and the sweet sound of a tuned L28…  what better way to get acquainted with you new Hakosuka?

One of the many gas stops…  this isn’t exactly a Prius after all.

There is some beautiful scenery along the way and one of the best has to be the canyon in between St. George and Mesquite Nevada.  It’s one I’ve driven many times, back in the day when we all had swapped Civics (and were slightly more irresponsible) anyone with a JDM ECU equipped with the factory 180 km/h speed limiter (112 mph) would always get left in the dust through here.

Random bridges on random roads…

I believe it was right after this picture was taken that things started to get interesting.  Apparently the car was running flawlessly the entire trip until they were right outside of Las Vegas.    Now let me give you a little history on this car before we get to the issue.  When we first received this car from Japan,  or most old cars from  Japan for that matter, there were a few things about the car that puzzled us a bit.  One being a fuel line that was ran directly into a plastic jug that was just sitting in the tire well.   I thought it was simply a strange way of routing a vent line so I routed it externally and never looked back because we never had an issue with it the entire time it was here.

To the best of our knowledge, it was either a change in elevation or the extreme desert heat that made enough of a pressure differential inside the fuel tank that what we thought was the vent line actually started spewing fuel.   It was at this point that I received a call from Eric.    Not exactly the call I was hoping to get but after a quick trip down to the shop to verify proper fuel line routing and some of Eric and Jan’s  quick thinking and preparedness they were eventually able to get the car back on the road.    I’m just glad these guys knew the inherent risks involved with road tripping in an older car and brought the tools necessary to fix the problem.   I kept thinking to myself that there must have been something I could have done to prevent this sort of issue but as Eric told me, you can do everything you can but sometimes there’s just no way to predict what might happen down the road.    So let this be a lesson, BE PREPARED!

While I must say I’m not a fan of a customer having to make a minor roadside repair on one of our cars it did make for quite an epic picture.

With a slight delay they were back on the road again.

Until they finally arrived in the early morning in L.A. where big brother and little sister we finally able to meet for the first time.

And that my friends is the end to one absolutely colossal week.  I just want to say thank you to Eric, Jan, Ivan, Luke, Paul and their lovely girlfriends for making this a weekend I will never forget.  Cars are great but it’s the personalities you meet behind them that make our shared love of nostalgia truly unique.  I will be seeing you all soon enough in California again for JCCS!